Distance learning for kids during a global pandemic

Distance learning for kids has emerged as a solution to school closures around the world due to a global pandemic. Distance learning COVID 19 has changed education for millions of students globally. 

Middle school buildingDistance learning for kids is an alternative to traditional education in a building and classroom setting.

In 2020, the novel coronavirus has spread the COVID-19 disease around the world. As part of the solution to dealing with this attendance at schools and universities was suspended and these institutions closed their physical doors to students for the rest of the year. Distance learning for kids was suddenly viewed as a popular alternative.

These risk-control decisions resulted in millions of students temporarily placed in home-schooling options. Countries most affected from the virus are China, South Korea, Italy, Iran and the United States have many parents transitioning to distance learning for kids instead of sending them to a traditional school. Although this has created inconvenient options it has also led to educational innovation.

There are three emerging educational trends in response to COVID-19. There are signs that these trends could have a lasting impact on future educational innovations and digitization. COVID-19 has become a catalyst for educational institutions worldwide to search for innovative solutions in a relatively short period of time.

5G technology in China, the United States and Japan has opened the doors to “learning anywhere, anytime.” Digital education will be available in a variety of different formats. Distance learning for kids will merge with traditional in-person classroom education. Live broadcasts, virtual reality experiences and “educational influencers” may become a daily habit and routine for many students. This trend may emerge as a new educational lifestyle and experience.

 The second trend is the creation of learning consortiums and coalitions increasing the importance of public-private educational partnerships. These are comprised of governments, education professionals, publishers, technology providers and telecom network operators. Digital platforms are used as a temporary solution to the crisis. This could become a prevalent and consequential trend of future education in emerging countries that have government sponsored education.

Education innovation has attracted attention beyond the typical government-funded or non-profit backed social project. While most initiatives have been limited, the pandemic has the potential to pave the way for much larger-scale, cross-industry coalitions to be formed around a common educational goal.

Most schools in affected areas are creating stop-gap solutions to continue teaching. However, the quality of education is dependent upon the level and quality of digital access. Only 60 percent of the world’s population is online.

History lessons at a battlefield.Kids have the ability to learn anywhere. This student is listening to a park ranger relate the account of events at an historic Civil War battlefield.

The lack of financial resources and technology knowledge in families around the world means that these students are left behind when it comes to quality education. Children of these families are unable to afford the cost of digital devices and data plans that will help them take part in online classes.

This means that the gap in education quality and socioeconomic equality will increase. The digital divide could become more extreme if educational access is dependent upon the latest technologies. The only solution to this problem is lower access costs and an increase in the quality of online access in all countries world-wide.

The pandemic is a reminder of the skills students need to face an unpredictable world of the future. These skills include informed decision making, creative problem solving and adaptability. To ensure those skills remain a priority for all students, resilience must be built into our educational systems.

Distance learning for kids and remote learning

In today’s unusual circumstances parents in the United States are dealing with the stress and concern of extended school closures. They are wondering how their kids will adjust to remote learning in education. Is remote learning as effective as traditional learning in school?

Some parents complain that their kids are bored and not getting enough school assignments from their teachers. Others are not used to dealing with the remote learning technology associated with remote learning resources and dislike their parental involvement in overseeing the many apps kids need for learning at home. Some kids are overwhelmed and not used to kids learning activities at home. These parents try their best to comfort their kids and help them get over their many tears of frustration. 

In sharp contrast, some parents don’t think the remote learning assignments matter while other parents worry about their children falling behind in school. The one thing that is consistent is that no one seems happy with what their schools are doing during this crisis.

However, there is agreement in one area of remote learning in education. Education researchers and sociologists agree that the effects of the coronavirus on the American educational system are critical, but primarily for disadvantaged students. Some students don’t have the technology tools or remote learning resources needed to continue classes and studying at home. According to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey, one in four low-income teens does not have access to a home computer.

Even when disadvantaged students do have the necessary hardware, they may not have the parental support they need to navigate unfamiliar platforms and complete the assigned work. However, affluent parents of students have more time to help their students at home. Stay-at-home, part time and parents with full-time but flexible work are available to answer their children’s homework questions or help them navigate the use of unfamiliar technology. Affluent parents sign their kids up for online classes in droves.

What does this mean in the long term? If low-income students fall farther behind and privileged students are progressing with their education at home, achievement gaps will widen. As families switch to online learning, the cracks that have always existed in the American educational system might become more apparent.

Teachers should be trained in the use of technology. Schools or local governments should do a better job of ensuring that everyone has access to devices and the Internet. 

There is another shift that could cause problems for schools. Many parents are becoming more involved in their children’s education at home. Some might not like what they are seeing. Among other things, privileged parents might not find the school work stimulating or relevant for their kids. These parents might decide to switch to home-schooling their children. Others might send their kids to a nontraditional public school, charter school, or perhaps a private school.

The coronavirus is transforming many aspects of our lives including the education of children in today’s crisis environment. Privileged parents with children who have easy access to remote learning resources know that their kids will adapt well to distance learning for kids. However, students lacking access to remote learning or have a different learning style, may discover that the crisis holds them back from acquiring a quality education. The pandemic may expose some of our educational system’s long-standing weaknesses to the masses and give us the collective will to finally address them.

Paddle boats at a park.Is distance learning for kids possible outside the traditional classroom?

Chatbots as an alternative to distance learning for kids

Most students today have access to a mobile phone. These students can use these devices at home for remote learning resources. There are many educational apps that they can use to improve math skills and understand other difficult subjects such as history, English and science.

Another interesting approach to distance learning for kids is through the use of chatbots. Bots can offer students studying at home a more individualized and personalized experience. Each home learner’s attention is engaged with entertaining personalities that present quizzes and other factual information in a conversational format. 

A chatbot can interact with each student holding a mobile phone. Rules based chatbots interact with the user through Facebook Messenger. Students don’t need to visit a website to use the bot as a learning tool. Bots can be programmed to engage students with interesting information and facts in a conversation for subjects they are studying at home. 

Almost any academic subject is a good candidate for an interactive chatbot script. Distance learning for kids takes on a totally different approach when chatbot education is offered as a possible solution to the educational divide in the United States.

More information about distance learning for kids alternatives are found here.

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